Sunday, October 17

Long disco nights are back in Madrid: “Those of us who turned 18 in the pandemic are out of control”

Nico Burgaleta, Mario Gaspar, Federico López and a dozen friends do accounts on Atocha street, outside the Teatro Kapital nightclub. This is the first week that the hours of the party rooms can be extended until 6:00 in the morning and the kids have to organize to enter. “We have to be 12 for the two tables,” recalls one of them, blond, hairless, cigarette in his mouth. The others agree, a couple is missing to have the full quota. All the boys in this all-male group are 18 years old, completed in a pandemic. Some of them had already been out late before March 2020 and the general shutdown of the country. The one who has gone to the most and least to a party in a flat or outdoors, but when it comes to a night at the disco, an old-fashioned disco, neither has great experience. “Those of us who turn 18 in a pandemic are out of control,” says Nico. The rest smile.

19 days and 555 nights later Madrid reopened until dawn

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Although the schedules are already those of before the COVID era, the discos are something else. The bars are missing, the traffic jams on the track, the general atmosphere of confusion. The capacity is still limited, at 75%, and to enter the fashionable places it is necessary to reserve a table. This has reinforced the aura of exclusivity with which some of these rooms seek to imbue themselves. Nico and Mario’s group has been trying to reserve a place at Tiffany’s for two weeks, a nightclub in El Viso where footballers and influencers go. One of them sighs. There goes “the [María] Rivers “, a TikTok and Instagram star who recounts his day-to-day life and makes faces in the mirror. He has millions of followers. To these boys, with their faces shaved more by rite than by necessity, born in 2003 (” in the zero three “), what interests them is the” atmosphere “and for that reason they are going to contribute 20 euros each. The table costs 120.

The requirement of having to anticipate where one is going to go at night takes away some spontaneity from the gregarious tradition of the jarana, that of ‘making out’ and improvising. And on an autumn Thursday evening, inaugurated with a heavy downpour, the streets of central Madrid are relatively quiet for what one might expect.

The lack of control of the massive bottle of the previous week in University City is not seen here. As new forms of nightlife have emerged – it is still common to go under floors with open balconies and the party going on, a legacy of the curfew – the crowd is diluted. It also happens that it is Thursday, it is not the strong day. One of the Kapital doormen explains that today they may close at 4:00, depending on the influx.

There are those who are reserved for the weekend in the strict sense, such as Paula, Ana and Juan Carlos, aged 22 and 23, who drain the last beers in a bar in Palos de la Frontera and give up on going. “Since Pride I don’t go to a big party,” he says. He rehearses, as a joke, a hand movement, as well as a techno dance. “I no longer remember what it was like,” he laughs. Next door, the Kristal nightclub, with a capacity of 63 people. “Everything is reserved,” says the manager, who says, it seems that with a more advertising than informative vocation, that the only lazy days are Wednesdays and that the place is always full since it could be reopened, even when the limit It was 1:00 in the morning. At the moment there is no one.

Strolling through the Huertas street area, you can see everyday pictures, such as the young native at the exit of the indeterminate place trying to explain to a foreign friend, gesturing ostensibly, speaking English with very marked eses, jotas and r’s, how it’s going to I don’t know where. The strangers salute again as before, with a handshake, the clash of elbows already forgotten. Another classic picture: leaving a bar that was rushing closing time, Quevedo, Alberto, 52 years old, has been pondering that, if the waiter did not want to put the last straw in a plastic cup to take away, he could have said without more, instead of being aggressive, and that he left for not breaking his neck. Before the anodyne answer of the interlocutor, he asks: “Are you a tree?” When he is convinced that no, he leaves calm, walking in a practically straight line.

“It was a witch hunt about the Police”

Daniel Martínez is 31 years old, he is a native of Manizales (Colombia) and he came to Spain last year, when the COVID hit his country the most. “There is a terrible political uncertainty,” he says, after explaining that he is public relations for up to 20 stores in Huertas and is saving to go on a trip to Italy. Daniel says that the extension of the opening hours has been like a balm for the night hustle and bustle. As people have more time to go out, the influx to the premises is more staggered, and there are not so many “hassles” at the exit, much less than just 15 days ago. “It was a witch hunt for the Police,” he compares. It also indicates that business strategies have to adapt. Unlicensed nightclub venues, which now close earlier, are trying to attract customers by offering free entry to a room for later. The price of admission ranges from 10 to 15 euros. Here you do not need weeks in advance to reserve a ticket. “If you want, you can go in with these guys,” offers another sensor at Dalí’s door, with a ticket included to go later to the Stella nightclub on Sevilla Street.

Malasaña is not a wasteland tonight, but it is still quite off. The nightclubs wait for Friday to reopen, and the little groups get scarcer as it passes 3:00. Now, perhaps, follow the advice of the boys and go up to El Viso, to the Tiffany’s nightclub. It takes a while to get there, Castellana up, more if one insists on using the public bicycle, which works just as badly at night as during the day.

Once there, the well-known huddle and a classic figure, not seen so far tonight: the upstart at the entrance, who tries to make friends with the doormen, perhaps to be let in, perhaps for a discount, perhaps just to alternate. “For 30 euros they let you pass”, slides the subject, obsequious. But the one in charge at the door, Julián, says that no, that the capacity is 350 people and that without a reservation no one passes.

There aren’t many people outside either, some girls sitting in wicker chairs on the sidewalk shouting, two twentysomethings trying to put an Argentine accent. “Drunk, boludo, you don’t know how to speak Argentine, I’m telling you, I’m Argentine,” they reproach each other. Here is another group, they are young a little less young than those from Atocha, they are a bit annoyed by the prices of the tables, which go up as the night progresses. “Now there are 120, then it will be 180,” says one. And what has changed them that now they can continue partying until 6:00? One jokes, before entering: “It is worse for me, because I go to bed later.”

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